Erfarenheter av zen
Sammanfattning: This work is not so much about religion as about individual religiosity. It is primarily about people practicing Zen, less about Zen Buddhism as a systematic ideology or philosophy. I set out from the start to try to explore the wide gap between theory and practice in Zen. The more abstract doctrines and idealized norms have had a tendency to dominate works on Zen, confessional as well as scholastic, and the concrete experiences and conceptions of individuals committing themselves to the daily practice have tended to be left out. Apart from attempting to depict my "apprenticeship" with the Soto Zen priest Shohaku Okumura, the everyday life at Antaiji (a Soto Zen monastery in Japan), and at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center (a Soto Zen lay practice in Minneapolis, USA) as vividly, fully and with as much detail as possible, there are two major filters through which I view much of my material. The first one focuses on the process of teaching and transmitting Zen. In illuminating and stressing the crucial relationship betwen teacher and student, I try to describe and reflect on different possibilities, methods and attitudes in communicating ways of being and understanding in various Zen contexts in Japan and in the USA. The second issue concerns the ritualized activities in Zen. My ambition is to bring out the practitioners' individual experiences and understandings of zazen (seated meditation), oryoki (formal eating), and chanting, in order to approach and investigate this empirical material through a more general anthropological theory of ritual (inspired by Humphrey & Laidlaw). The stories in this book have evolved from my participation in Zen practice, and through living with people practicing. I use my own experiences to find questions and keys to other people's experiences. As much as possible I try to depict this process of interaction, striving to do justice to the life that is going on, and to recreate it in as personal, readable and lively literary form as possible.
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